Keys to the castle up for grabs in Sleaford

A group dedicated to raising the profile of Sleaford’s castle site have had a number of replica keys to its ancient gates crafted – and you can buy one!

A brass replica of the key found in excavations at Sleaford castle site.
A brass replica of the key found in excavations at Sleaford castle site.

Partnership organisations including the town council, the museum and the Civic Trust have been working as Sleaford Castle Heritage Group to develop the site’s potential as an historic visitor attraction.

Christopher Hodgson from the Carre Gallery commissioned a painting of how the castle would have looked in 1585, produced by local artist Mike Weston, one of the winners in the Carre Gallery Summer Show.

He said: “This painting was used on the new castle sign (newly unveiled by the town council at Castlefield). The original is on display in the gallery where a limited edition of mounted prints are on sale at the gallery. The exhibition continues until August 6.”

To complement the new painting of Sleaford Castle, a replica has been made of the large medieval key that was unearthed during Charles Kirk’s partial excavations in the 1860s.

The original bronze key, which had been held by Lincoln Museum, was mislaid many years ago. However, a drawing of the key can be found in Edward Trollope’s well known book of 1872, Sleaford and the Wapentakes of Flaxwell and Aswardhurn in the

County of Lincoln, and from this, a cast has been made in brass.

Garry Titmus, of the heritage group said: “A copy of the key is likely to figure in exhibitions and displays on Sleaford Castle pending the unearthing of artefacts in future excavations. In the meanwhile, a limited number of replica keys, that would make a

unique, if heavy paperweight will be available in the Carre Gallery.”

The main focus of the Sleaford Castle Project over the past six months has been to ensure the castle site features in the Sleaford Masterplan and the developing Sleaford Neighbourhood Plan.

The Masterplan for the first time includes Sleaford Castle as “a significant heritage asset … that provides a major opportunity for strengthening Sleaford’s heritage identity.” There is support for all of the project’s objectives.

Mr Titmus said: “This gives us the opportunity to press ahead with preparing a business case and seeking relevant funding.”

The main objective is for an additional public access bridge from Nag’s Head Passage linked to Sleaford Station and Southgate.